As of now, the Phillies have four relievers signed (Lidge, Madson, Baez, Contreras); only one of them, Antonio Bastardo, is lefty, and he only pitched in 18.2 innings last season.
So who will replace Romero in the bullpen?
As the winter meetings approach, the Phillies radar consists of two left-handed relievers: Pedro Feliciano and Arthur Rhodes.
For us Phillies fans, we have seen a lot of Feliciano. In 2010 with the New York Mets, the native of Puerto Rico compiled a 3-6 record with a 3.30 ERA and 23 holds. He’s two years removed from his best season, which featured a 6-4 record with a 3.03 ERA and 24 holds (both career-highs).
Feliciano was the only reliable left-hander in the Mets’ bullpen last season and was just the fifth pitcher in MLB history to appear in 90 or more games. He also has led the league in appearances for three straight seasons, as well.
The Phils bullpen needs someone with a rubber arm, and Feliciano fits that role.
Besides Feliciano, Philadelphia could turn their attention to former Cincinnati Reds lefty specialist, Arthur Rhodes.
One of the oldest players in the game at 41 years-old, Rhodes is coming off an impressive 2010 campaign in which he posted a 2.29 ERA with 26 holds.
Philadelphia fans should be familiar with Rhodes since he had a brief stint with the club back in 2006. During his temporary time in the City of Brotherly Love, Rhodes appeared in 55 games, posting a 0-5 record (his worst win-loss record in his career) and a 5.32 ERA.
Maybe Philadelphia doesn’t want to bring back a man who went up in smoke in his first stint with the organization, but following that dreadful 2006 campaign, Rhodes has been able to keep his ERA below 3.00.
In 2008 with the Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins, Rhodes amassed an ERA of 2.04 with 24 holds.
Rhodes appears to be getting with age, and we already know that Philadelphia isn’t afraid of bringing in 40+ year-old pitchers (i.e. Jamie Moyer).
Both Feliciano and Rhodes, two of the best lefty specialists in the National League the past three seasons, will not require the Phillies to surrender a draft pick if they choose to sign one or both of them since both declined their arbitration.
Many baseball enthusiasts would suggest that the Phils should target Toronto Blue Jays free-agent reliever Scott Downs; however, the Phillies would be forced to give up a draft pick in order to sign him, and they have already expressed their distaste in that notion.
Despite his exceptional numbers (2.64 ERA, 26 holds, 0.99 WHIP), Downs doesn’t appear to be on the Phillies radar, even though he meets the clubs qualifications: lefty reliever, good control, and ability to pitch 60+ innings per season.